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L. niger colony dying off... poisoning?

lasius niger poisoning formicarium

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#1 Offline skocko76 - Posted October 8 2017 - 2:56 AM

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Hi all, 

I moved my L. niger colony of 20 from a test tube setup to a formicarium bought on eBay.

Two days after the move the ants started having some kind of neurological problems: twitching, lying on back, not caring for brood, etc..

Basically they are dying off. Touching the workers does not move them from the spot, they get excited but seem unaware of their surrounding.

It looks like poisoning to me. I contacted the lady that makes the formicaria, and she assures me that all the materials used are ant safe and that she never had problems with them.

She seems to know her ants, and has sent me photos of large colonies thriving in formicaria of the same make. She also claims that the item was not stored in a warehouse with pest control or anything similar.

I am inclined to believe her. She seems concerned.

Could it be the shock of the move could do this to the colony? I did just dump them in the outworld  :facepalm: (ashamed).

Anyway, here are some photos and videos. What do you think is going on?

 

IMG 20171007 183037
IMG 20171007 182938



#2 Offline Phoenix - Posted October 8 2017 - 4:28 AM

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Probably In Shock, Since You Literally Dumped Them Into The Out-World.


Colonies

Camponotus cf. albosparsus — Journal

Camponotus cf. auriventris — Journal
Camponotus sp.
Colobopsis spp.
Crematogaster sp.
Nylanderia sp.  Journal
Pheidole cf. parva
Solenopsis geminata — Journal
 

#3 Offline skocko76 - Posted October 8 2017 - 4:38 AM

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Yes, I regret doing that. I though something like that would not result in such a drastic reaction, especially since their test tube was moldy and I wanted to move them asap.

I though the nature is quire harsh, much harsher than what happened to them.

Anyway, lesson learned.

Hopefully they'll adapt before it's too late.



#4 Offline Ants_Texas - Posted October 8 2017 - 6:11 AM

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Try to move the queen and remaining workers into a test tube if possible. Maybe that will help somehow.



#5 Offline Bryce - Posted October 8 2017 - 9:54 AM

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Hard to say. It does sound like some kind of poisoning, but from what who knows. I dump and move all my ants like you did all the time. I believe I read Drew does as well as a few other ant keepers I know. Doing this I have never had the response you did. I wouldn't assume that's the reason for the die off. Don't feel bad for moving them like that a lot of us do.

#6 Offline Scrixx - Posted October 8 2017 - 10:02 AM

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Drew dumps his colonies all the time, I also did that with my Pogonomyrmex. I can't see a colony dying from that. Did you make sure to humidify the formicarium? Even without poisoning, a large die off could happen from drying out.


ScrixxAnts Queen Adoption

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Keeping: Camponotus sansabeanus - C. vicinus - Formica francoeuri - Liometopum occidentale -  Pogonomyrmex californicus - P. rugosus - P. subnitidus - Solenopsis molesta - S. xyloni - Tapinoma sessile - Temnothorax sp.

Journals: Camponotus sansabeanus & C. vicinus | Pogonomyrmex californicus & P. rugosus | Solenopsis molesta & S. xyloni

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#7 Offline drtrmiller - Posted October 8 2017 - 10:08 AM

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If you are unable to identify a potential poison in their environment, dehydration is the more likely culprit.

Edited by drtrmiller, October 8 2017 - 10:09 AM.

 
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#8 Offline Forestflamboyant - Posted October 8 2017 - 10:22 AM

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Howdy! I would agree with dehydration and the mold already poisoning them. They wouldn't be shaking from just dehydration. Hope that you were able to save the queen??



#9 Offline skocko76 - Posted October 8 2017 - 11:37 AM

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Thanks everyone for your support and suggestions, I really appreciate it!

Dehydration is probably not the culprit as the formicarium is specially designed for ants with high humidity requirements.

Check the photos for the size of the hydration sponge and water tower to keep it moist.

It could be that they got too much moisture, but one would think they would know to balance between the moist inside and the out-world and find a sweet spot.

IMG 20171003 144658
IMG 20171004 124949

 

The second photo was taken 12 hrs after I dumped them in the outworld.... obviously the queen did not want to go inside right away. There was a split in the colony, ones wanting to move (to the far right), others still loyal to the queen.

18 hrs after the big dump, only 2-3 workers remained with the queen. When I checked on them in the morning, the queen was inside. They did not carry the brood in  (under the queen in the picture).

 



#10 Offline skocko76 - Posted October 9 2017 - 11:19 PM

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I moved them into a test tube setup. The last of the workers have died. No brood either.

There is no way for the queen to raise another generation alone, right? No matter if fed properly?

What should I do? Introduce pupae, I know, but I have no idea where to get some.

I have another L. niger colony, but it is small, little brood, and in an acrylic formicarium with no access to the brood chamber.

Is the queen doomed?



#11 Offline skocko76 - Posted October 12 2017 - 6:31 AM

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Actually, I resuscitated 6-7 of them, so we're good  :)  :good2:



#12 Offline ultraex2 - Posted October 12 2017 - 8:19 AM

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Glad to hear they're okay now!

 

Moving forward, it's probably worth at least washing it off with water - I always wash my test tubes/containers out when I get them just to help make sure they're okay.


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#13 Offline skocko76 - Posted May 15 2018 - 8:25 AM

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Yeah, a late update, but all of the workers died in the end, the queen also. :(
Meanwhile, I have dissassembled the formicarium and washed it thoroughly. I actually moved the remaining colony of L. niger in it, as the formicarium they were in was intended for dry species. I am keeping it for my C. scutellaris.
The transfer was a disaster; I had to dissassemble the formicarium to get to the colony as they wouldn't have mooved by doomsday otherwise. I put them in the fridge, hoping they would be inert enough for me to drop them in their new house. Nope, as soon as I removed the acrylic lid, they were all over. Out of 30 workers, 19 got in, the others either squished or lost. The colony is now down to 16 workers, but looks content. The queen just lay the first batch of eggs.

#14 Offline Shifty189 - Posted May 16 2018 - 11:10 AM

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Sounds like you should be much more careful when moving your colony. Trust that they will know when to move on there own. Removing the acrilic lid sounds very extreme to me, and even more so knowing that you did that to move them into a formicarium that could have just killed another colony.

I’m not trying to be mean or harsh, just calling it out as I see it. I hope that I (and maybe you) can learn from your experience here.
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#15 Offline skocko76 - Posted May 16 2018 - 11:58 AM

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Sounds like you should be much more careful when moving your colony. Trust that they will know when to move on there own. Removing the acrilic lid sounds very extreme to me, and even more so knowing that you did that to move them into a formicarium that could have just killed another colony.
I’m not trying to be mean or harsh, just calling it out as I see it. I hope that I (and maybe you) can learn from your experience here.

Yeah, no kidding!

#16 Offline Barristan - Posted May 16 2018 - 12:03 PM

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I also doubt that the shaking into the formicarium was the cause of the dying. Maybe the nest was cleaned with something which caused the death or the material contains some stuff which is bad for ants?



#17 Offline GeorgeK - Posted May 16 2018 - 12:51 PM

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Everything shipped from China is coated in chems to prevent damage in transport



#18 Offline Shifty189 - Posted May 16 2018 - 5:29 PM

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I also doubt that the shaking into the formicarium was the cause of the dying. Maybe the nest was cleaned with something which caused the death or the material contains some stuff which is bad for ants?

i agree, but i still think he should allow the ants to move on there own terms whenever possible.



#19 Offline Canadian anter - Posted May 16 2018 - 6:16 PM

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Everything shipped from China is coated in chems to prevent damage in transport

I've received formicaria from China and they've always been safe.


Visit us at www.canada-ant-colony.com !

#20 Offline skocko76 - Posted May 17 2018 - 2:26 AM

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Everything shipped from China is coated in chems to prevent damage in transport

I've received formicaria from China and they've always been safe.

 

Yeah, me too. But, I guess washing/cleaning is in order, regardless where from you order your formicaria.


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